Long live the Outdoor Payment Terminal

Long live the Outdoor Payment Terminal

By Gavin Lennox, Invenco CEO: As Mark Twain famously quoted: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” – so, I believe is the case with the short-term demise of the Outdoor Payment Terminal (OPT). While the buzz is that mobile payments using your smartphone will make unattended payment technology redundant, research and industry experience tells us this “death” is not happening in the foreseeable future.

Firstly, even when driven by regulation, changing how people pay in western countries is traditionally slow and difficult. 

Invenco has been at the forefront of the EMV changeover globally introducing the first EMV enabled Outdoor Payment Terminal into Asia in 2001.
According to ATM Marketplace, western countries, with their variety of payment options will “begin to use mobile payment only when it offers significant advantage over existing methods.” In comparison, it sees the adoption in countries such as, Africa, China and India as being significant:

“… in developing countries where either banking infrastructure or trust in the government and banks is lacking, mobile payments offer a secure and immediate payment channel that will undoubtedly continue to diversify and prosper.”

While we will continue to see the rise of mobile in the developing world, it will take time to shift to mobile payments in most western economies.

Secondly, an aging population means supporting more ways to pay, not less
We are all living longer. According the US Census Bureau for the first time in history the older generation will outnumber the younger generation around 2020 and the trend will continue to see the two groups continue to ‘grow’ in opposite directions.

So, while Millennials and the generations that come after them are likely to openly embrace new payment methodologies, like mobile payments through smartphones, it is going to be hard to shift those who have been born with a card in their pocket. Just as it was difficult to shift their grandparents’ generation away from payment by cash and cheques.

So, what does this all mean?
As I see it, retailers are going to have to offer more payment options than ever before. If you don’t want to turn customers away you are going to have to be able to offer not just EMV card payment but contactless payment by card and phone plus a whole range of mobile payment options moving forward.

As technology providers, we equally need to make sure that what we are building today is going to be flexible and robust enough to manage the payment options retail customers require. At Invenco we’re actively championing the adoption of an open industry standard for OPTs for exactly that reason.

I don’t believe that change is going to see the ‘death’ of the Outdoor Payment Terminal, if anything it’s life is going to be extended as a bridge to manage the transition to future payment methods, allowing self-service customers to pay any way they want.